Tres Chic; From Boudior To The Street

You Are What You Wear: Masquerade Edition

Rachel Mooney
The tricky part about costumes is that you never quite know what you’re buying into; Go to bed with Ryan Gosling and wake up with what looks like Zack Galifianakis snoring snugly on your tempurpedic pillow with what appears to be a 2-sizes-too-small costume rumpled up on your bedside floor like your ill-kept dignity and you’ll understand the implicit problem with a sex-driven Holiday with costumes to confuse and bewilder us annually. Yes, makeup and snug alterations alone can make even Rupaul look like Mila Kunis and that is both the crux and pleasure of this booze and role-play driven Holiday that we call Halloween. Half of the fun as become the obstacle of determining who’s behind the bewitching get-up and what these costume choices say about our inflated egos. To better gauge what’s lurking under the mask, I’ve noted a few trends and have concluded that Halloween costume choices adequately say more about who’s under the mask than a 3 page online dating profile and this Halloween, you need to know how to read the signs. Allow me to share my learnings.

My research began with the best insight I could provide, my own uber risqué costume choices and I could only assume this trend began with a traumatic childhood Halloween nightmare when I desperately wanted to be a Disney princess. Alas, my mother had other plans. As she walked through the front door with jack-o-lantern bags stuffed to the rim with what I could only assume were tiaras, glitter jellie high heels and magenta feather boas, to my dismay, I ripped open the package to find she had purchased me a Power Rangers costume… the white ranger. Yes, this was a boy Power Ranger, and thus began the existential gender-role crisis of 1995. How the hell was I supposed to wear this costume amongst all the Cinderella’s and Pocahontas’ jaunting gracefully about in pools of lace taffeta? Stepping out into the crisp night air with only my sweaty, Asian-made plastic mask to shield my bruised dignity, I made my way through the neighborhood like a dog with it’s tail between it’s legs as I vowed to never allow such blasphemy to occur again. Thus began my life-long quest for the ever-sexy, Avant-garde costume that would accurately display the prowess of a woman I knew at the ripe, young age of 9 I would inevitably grow to obtain.

Present day, as I strut out of my apartment like a John Casablanca runway coach in my sexy dominatrix costume, I can only assume this is my backwards way of declaring that not only am I no longer a gender-confused Power Ranger, I am a woman in control, dammit… and I momentarily consider changing before I see 4D coming out in what can only be described as a sexy Girl Scout costume. Phew, I’m not the only chick with childhood issues. Really, 4D? Has the loss of the Girl Scout cookie selling contest in 5th grade come back to rear its vengeance-filled head? Nothing screams child-like innocence like a lycra body suit, ripped fishnet thigh-high stockings and 20 lbs of pagent makeup, and yet here I am rivaling her fashion snafu in my all-of-a-sudden uncomfortable costume. Is this how we see ourselves? She’s accompanied by her live-in boyfriend who has been Superman, The Hulk and GI Joe the past 3 years… If this theory is correct, I get it: You’re the fucking modern day Clint Eastwood! Your costume choice doubles as a puffed-chest mating call rivaling a gorilla’s chest pounding. You are all that is man and you’re ready to save any scantily clad damsel in distress this Halloween. Ladies, take note as this elusive mating call only happens but once a year.

Spy more ass than Shakira hanging out of a ladies costume? She’s single and ready to mingle, boys and I’m guessing she’s bobbing more than apples. What this broad lacks in conversational skills and self-esteem she makes up for in
T & A and daddy issues.

I consulted another writer at work about this troubling trend only to give her an inferiority complex as she slowly came to the realization that her boyfriend has been an Indian, a policeman and a construction worker in the past 3 years… What’s next? A cowboy bravely baring his chest to those who frequent Stonewall? A sailor who is only looking for some love while he docks for the night conveniently at Highball? Perhaps his Village People inspired costume choices spurred from a wild childhood game of spin the bottle where he just couldn’t help that the bottlenose always found it’s way to Brandon Smith from the school bus! It was meant to be! As she gnawed nervously on her Sharpie Fine Point, she could only ponder what this year’s costume would bring, and what this meant about the future of her relationship. The same friend, who just so happens to be Asian, also decided to dress her 1-year old daughter as a sushi roll. We get it. You’re Asian, and by means of genetic makeup, I’m guessing your daughter is, too. Years from now she will be unable to touch a spicy tuna roll and will inevitably dress as Miss America and Wonder Woman for years to come.

Group costumes can tell us a lot about who’s under the mask, as well. IE: Group planned Avengers costumes, for instance, clearly stem from years spent celibate as a math-lete, where women undoubtedly never pictured their once thick-rimmed glasses on the likes of Iron Man, alas now their costumes scream, “I have friends! Eat your hearts out, Sadie Hawkins Dance rejects!” We really can read these costume choices like windows into the souls of many a childhood trauma or self-declared ego affirmation. Perhaps I’ll just wear a net of sponge loofahs to allow others to know that not only am I ‘self-absorbed,’ I’m fucking clever, too.

Our costume choices really have become the over-magnified epitome of how we see ourselves and how, if only for one night, we can assert the opposite sex to see us as well. Moral of the story: This Halloween, you are what you wear so choose accordingly or the ghosts of Halloween’s past may come back to haunt you for enabling hoards of minors working endlessly in sweatshops to produce your Little Slut Red Riding Hood costume. Although, if that’s arguably the newfound joy of Halloween - acting out our ego-driven fantasies in ridiculously gratuitous costumes on a sex and booze-filled holiday, let’s just call it like it is. My only request? Let’s just all agree now to please avoid face paint this Halloween. No one wants to go to bed with William Wallace only to wake up with the remains of an ICP juggalo imprinted on their Egyptian cotton sheets.

Actually, fuck it. This Halloween, let’s skip costumes all together, save ourselves the $80 bucks and all buy color-coated wristbands a la Wall Street bar instead: green means single, red means taken, yellow means… well, I won’t ruin the surprise but if you’re in the mood for some serious Halloween exploits… pick yellow now. Ask questions later.

Happy Tryst or Treat, Columbus!